If a seller lies on the disclaimer and the buyer can prove it, do they have legal rights?

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If a seller lies on the disclaimer and the buyer can prove it, do they have legal rights?

We bought a house 9 months ago and had to replace the furnace at the beginning of month. Mid-month city sewage backup and entered the basement, emersing the new furnace among other items. City back up had occurred 1year prior to our closing. The city notified the seller to put in a back up valve, however, the seller did not do so. They also did not disclose this either, instead they listed no plumbing issues or flood issues. Insurance will not help me; husband is deployed. I am pregnant with 2 small children and have been staying in a hotel.

Asked on January 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is fraud to lie in order to induce someone to buy something--especially a house, since there are disclosure obligations. If the seller knew of plumbing and flooding issues but knowingly or intentionally failed to disclose that fact, the seller  may be liable to you, and you may have a valid legal case.

You should speak with an attorney, who can review the case in more detail. Also, bring a copy of your insurance policy and claim with you--insurers have to pay if the policy would require it, and the lawyer can review the insurance documents with you, to see if may have a claim against the insurer, too. Good luck.


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